The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Iranian government to overturn the death sentence handed down against journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who has been detained for over a year and convicted of spying.
“We believe that Mr. Hassanpour was targeted because of his writing on Kurdish issues for the weekly Asou, which was banned by the ministry of culture and Islamic orientation in August 2005, and his contributions to foreign media, including Voice of America and Radio Farda,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said in a letter to Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who is head of the judiciary.
The IFJ has written the letter to urge the government to overturn the death sentence against Hassanpour. While his conviction on charges of “subversive activities against national security, “espionage” and “separatist propaganda” was not linked to his writings, the IFJ fears that they were motivated by his outspoken writing and reporting. The IFJ has no information that Hassanpour was involved in any espionage.
The IFJ is calling on its member unions to send their own letters to Shahroudi to protest the death sentence handed down for Hassanpour.
Hassanpour was sentenced to death in July 2007 and the sentence was confirmed by the Tehran Supreme Court in November.
In his letter, White urged Shahroudi to “show that the Iranian judicial system is not being used to stifle freedom of expression. We ask you to release him immediately and clear him of the unfair charges against him.
Iran has one of the highest numbers of annual executions in the world, often hanging or stoning people to death in public for crimes ranging from murder to adultery.
The IFJ is supporting a campaign by its Italian member, Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana, and other press freedom group to lobby the government for Hassanpour’s release.
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide